Friday, September 9, 2016

Trumps Sister from another Mother

By Bob Ferris

I have always admired Theodore Roosevelt for creating the Progressive Party in 1912.  He took a lot of heat for that and lost the election.  But Roosevelt, for all his faults, tried to take a common-sense backbone and infuse it with a bright vision for the future that would move the country forward without ripping the rivets out.  In the spinning greased teeter-totter that is politics he tried to wrap what this country needed around what the country would accept.  He, like Bernie Sanders, might have pushed this more than possible but each has influenced the system and helped Progressives understand what is possible.

I think about this now in the context of Dr. Jill Stein.  I don’t really have many thoughts on Dr. Stein other than she is kind of like the opinionated and verbose, activist doctor in the neighborhood that you might respect and might like.  That the feeling does not go much beyond that and certainly does not lead to a flashing light bulb above my head labelled “Gee, she ought to be President.”

I revisit these feelings as some of those people who walked along with my wife and I arguing for Bernie Sanders cannot understand why my “progressiveness” does not drive me to Dr. Stein.  The only response that I can offer is that Dr. Stein is not Bernie Sanders and she has not profited at all from the experiences of Theodore Roosevelt or Bernie.

Any election is an act of triangulation between finding a candidate that is most like you philosophically and at the same time is electable.  One without the other simply does not work.  Bernie is a candidate that has learned this dynamic well, but for a variety of reasons missed the mark by a scintilla in the primaries.  It is clear when one looks at Bernie’s election performance that he learns from his past efforts and finds a way to win.  Dr. Stein seems to lack this ability to profit from past mistakes so she keeps making them as evidenced by looking at the pattern of her election performance compared to that of Bernie (see above and below).

I will vote this fall for Hillary Clinton fully understanding that she may not naturally lead on some of the progressive platform items that we as progressives most support.  My vote for her and other down-ticket players is less about her and more about creating a more receptive landscape where we can achieve what we have to achieve with a President, Congress and Court that may not always push for what we want, but will allow us to push them for what is needed.

Progressives as opposed to Conservatives are supposed to be folks who embrace change and the future.  My sense of this is that we also should be folks more informed by science and driven by logic rather than emotion or fear.  In this we seriously question the logic of those voting against their own self-interests by supporting Trump.  How, pray tell, is this any more illogical than voting for someone who has proven themselves un-electable repeatedly in the hope that this will bring about change?

1 comment:

  1. Bob, an ace column and a swell TR cartoon. The trouble with third parties is that they stay third (or in Roosevelt's very charismatic case, came in second, squelching Taft). Debs, La Follette, H. Wallace, Thurmond, Thomas, G. Wallace, Anderson, Perot, Nader came nowhere near even possible victory, though I think it is beyond statistical dispute that Nader drained enough votes in 2000 to cost Al Gore Florida and victory (GOP voter tricks also contributed). I think that highly ideological voters, mostly on the left, have a refined taste for electoral martyrdom, for the gelded protest vote that reassures them of their purity. It keeps the pilot light burning, even after it is clear that nothing eatable is coming from the oven. A Stein vote is like that this year, when a pragmatic vote (for Clinton over Trump) counts so much. The moral choice is for a savvy professional over a reality-show caudillo. Cheers...David.